About Me

I feel the wanderlust and the call of the open highway. Which is good, because I drive cars for a living. But I'm a writer, and someday hope to once again make my living using my writing skills.

Friday, June 30, 2017


It had been a while since I saw my good friends Tom and Jenny on their big dog ranch in the Texas hill country.  I passed through on July 3, and planned to stay until July 5 when I could deliver the car to the customer in San Antonio.

I got to the ranch and Jenny ran outside to give me a big hug, surrounded by nine dogs.  These were the house dogs, the ones who lived inside.  The other forty five dogs were in the huge comfortable dog warehouse that Tom had built.

Just then, Tom came running out of the house and said "Let's go, Bill-dog."  He grabbed me by the arm as he ran past and pulled me along.

"OK, but what's the big rush?"

Jenny smiled.  "Golf."


"Golf," confirmed Tom.  "Come on, there's a course down near Lake LBJ and we can get there in time for 18 holes if we hurry."  We hopped into his truck and took off.  "Now we got everything we need here, I packed and planned ahead."

"That is so like you."

Tom laughed and reached over and tousled my hair vigorously.  "I've missed you brother, it's been way too long.  Jenny and I were just talking the other night, wishing you lived closer by."

"Me too.  It's peaceful out here."

"This is God's country."  Tom reached into his ice chest behind the seats and pulled out two cold beers, handing one to me.  He opened his, and I did the same.

"Are you sure this is OK?"

"Bill-dog, you are in the Texas hill country, things work a little different down here."

"So it's OK to have a beer as you drive?"

"Absolutely, just so you keep it down and don't draw unwanted attention."

We arrived at the golf course, and Tom jumped out and hustled over to the caddyshack.  He put his hand on a young man's shoulder and spoke for a moment, then hopped in a golf cart and drove it over to the truck.  "Everything OK?" I asked.

"Yes sir, we're good.  Grab that ice chest out of the back and load it in here."  As I did as he asked, he grabbed his bag of clubs and put it them in.  "Now we are on a time limit here, they close before we could possibly play all eighteen."


"Now you have played golf before, right?"

"Miniature golf."

Tom threw his head back and laughed heartily.  "OK, well then we are gonna have to improvise.  We are about to play speed golf."  He jumped into the passenger seat and pointed to the driver's seat for me.  "Go, bud, go."  I put the pedal to the metal and went to the first tee off spot.  Tom got out and set down his ball and hit it hard without any hesitation.  Then he ran back to the cart.  "Go, go, go!"  So I went.

We found the ball near the green, and Tom quickly got out and hit it again without pause.  He followed it to the green and hit it several more times until it went into the hole.  He got back into the cart with me, and I said "So that's how you play speed golf?"

He pointed ahead and said "Second hole, move it."  As I drove quickly, he said  "Beer me."  I reached back into the ice chest and got him a beer.  He opened it and took a long pull from it.  "Hope you don't mind not playing, but--"

"Don't explain, don't apologize, I will do the driving and serving of the beer, you just play."

Tom smiled and nodded.  "That's the general idea."  He got out again and repeated the process.  Hit the ball quickly, hop in the cart, and roll fast to it, hit it again and again till it goes in the hole.  Then hand him a beer.  "Where's your beer, buddy?"

"I'm driving."

Tom snorted and reached into the ice chest.  "You're just gonna have to trust me on this.  Part of speed golf is beer consumption, so don't be shy.  Go with the flow."  And so I let the cold beer flow down my throat.  I don't usually drink, but it was a holiday and it was awfully hot outside.  We hit the third hole, the fourth, the fifth, drinking about one beer every other hole.  Tom was actually doing pretty darn good considering how fast we were going.

As I drove to the seventh hole, Tom reached into his bag and pulled out a towel, which he used to mop his face drenched with sweat.  He unzipped a side pocket and produced a small boom box, which instantly made me happy. "You brought music?"

"What, are you kidding?  Of course I brought music, but you're slipping up, you haven't been playing it and we are at the seventh hole."

"I didn't know you had it."  I turned it on and was pleased to hear The Eagles "LYIN' EYES".

He pointed a finger at me and looked deadly serious.  "No excuses, no regrets."  Then he broke into a grin and patted me on the shoulder, jumping out of the golf cart and rushing to hit the ball once more.  He came back to the cart saying,  "Let's go, move it you driving fool."

"I'm moving, I'm moving," I said as I floored it.

"Where's my beer?"  I reached back into the ice chest and grabbed one.  "OK, now where's yours?"  I held up the one I was still working on, as I could not quite keep up with his pace.  He was playing speed golf and power drinking all at once.

After we finished the tenth hole, I said, "This is amazing, its as if we have the course all to ourselves."

"We pretty much do, buddy."

"Oh boy, this is great!"

"Better than great.  Now open us both a cold beer, and I won't take no for an answer."

"Then I won't give you no for an answer."  We both laughed as I handed him another beer and opened a fresh one for myself.

Hole eleven.  Hole twelve.  Thirteen.  Fourteen.  Tom reached into another pocket on his golf bag and pulled out a fat joint.  "Time to get high."  He lit the joint.

"Where did you get that?"

"Hey, I come prepared."

"Indeed you do."  I was feeling very good and not a little lightheaded.  Tom tried to hand me the joint, and I waved it away.  "Buddy, I am pretty buzzed right now, if I start smoking that I may flip the cart."

Tom shrugged happily.  "If it happens it was meant to be."  He tried to offer it again, but I came to a halt at the fifteenth hole.  He got out and made his shot, and I couldn't believe how good he was doing without taking time to set up his shots.

When we got to the seventeenth hole, he hit the ball and then yelled "Crap!"

I was confused.  "Aren't you supposed to yell FORE?"

Tom pointed ahead, and I could see four men walking towards the green.  The ball went over their heads and landed just on the edge of the green.  He rushed to the cart shouting,  "Go, move, now, go!"  I took off and headed for the green, but he guided me to take the long way around the other golfers.  As they saw us going by, Tom yelled,  "Don't mind us, just playing through."  Then he turned to me.  "You know what I feel like?  A cold beer."  The other four men were shouting at us.

"Me too."  I reached into the ice chest as he sunk his ball, and we moved on to the eighteenth hole.  "What's your score?"

"You haven't been keeping score?"

I was caught off guard.  "I didn't know I was supposed to."

He hit the ball.  "Oh no, now we have to start all over."


"No."  Tom chuckled and hopped in, and we went to the green so he could sink his final ball.  After, we drove back to the caddyshack and Tom said,  "You know how we celebrate finishing a game?  A cold beer and a shot of Jack."

"You have Jack Daniels in that bag?"

"Nope, but I've got a big bottle back home.  Let's go, Jenny should have dinner fixed by the time we get there.  By the way, nice driving."

"I've had a lot of experience.  By the way, nice golfing."

Tom opened two more beers and handed one to me.  "Speed golfing."  He raised a beer in a toast, and I joined him.  "To afternoon golf and beer and good friends."

"I will always drink to that."  And I did.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


As I travel, I have had many memorable experiences, and some top notch birthdays on the road.  This year found me in Columbus, Ohio where my friend Smokey had just passed away.  He'd been fighting the cancer, but he went down fast at the end.  I got a car headed nearby a few days before his funeral.  I began talking to his Dad, who I had become very close with over the years.

After the funeral, I actually had a car I needed to deliver, and Smokey's father offered to follow me in his car and then to drive me back to his house to stay the night.  We both pulled our cars into the woman's driveway and it looked very much like no one was home.

I climbed out of the car and called the woman, and she answered her cell phone with a curt, "What?"

"Hi, this is Bill Thomas, I'm at your home right on time to deliver your car."

"Well I'm not there yet, so you'll just have to wait."

"Yes ma'am."  I hung up, and Smokey's father Ralph reached his hand out for the paperwork I was carrying.

"Can I take a look?  I've always been curious about what you do, how it all works." He took a long look over the paperwork and then "Hmmm'ed" to himself.

"What is it?"

"Well the name is unusual, not common.  Mackankowski."

"Not that unusual," I said.

"But far from common.  I used to have a man who worked for me by that name.  It's just a coincidence."

"I'm sure that's just what it is."  So we had a conversation about how Ralph started his company 45 years ago and had grown it into a mini-empire. We waited for 20 minutes and the woman finally pulled up into the driveway.  From the moment she jumped out of the car, it was clear that she was a nervous wreck, a stressed mess.

"Look I know I'm late but it couldn't be helped so just deal with it."

I shrugged.  "No problem here, just want you to look over the car and sign the paperwork and we'll be on our way."

"Oh, you have a ride out of here?  We are way out in the country..."  Just then, she looked at Ralph for the first time and said, "It's you!"

Ralph nodded.  "Hello, Martha."

"Don't you hello me, you cocky bastard.  You caused me so much trouble I don't even know where to begin."

"Calm down."

"I will not calm down!  You fired my husband for sleeping with his secretary, and it ruined my life.  I forgave him for adultery, why couldn't you?"

"His many affairs had nothing to do with his dismissal."

"Many?  He only had one."

Ralph nodded.  "Allright."

"So you fired him just because he was late two or three days every week?  And he missed days when he wasn't feeling well?"

"That's not why."

"Then why?  Why did you fire him?  What possible good reason could you have had for getting rid of him leading to us losing our home, then him hitting the bottle, and finally running out on me and my kid?"

"He embezzled over a million dollars."

"He did not!"

"He absolutely did, we caught him red handed with a paper trail."

She was quiet for a moment, and then said  "Why didn't I see any of that money?"

Ralph shook his head. "I couldn't tell you that, I just know that it was ill gotten gains and no one should have benefited."

"Says you!"

I held up the paperwork.  "So, if you could just sign here, I can go enjoy a birthday dinner with my friend Ralph."

She glared at me.  "Ask me if I care that it's your birthday."  She scribbled her signature and snatched the keys from me.  "Both of you get off my property before I call the law."

We got into Ralph's car and went out for a real nice dinner.  I've never had a customer and a friend crossover before, but it was a memorable birthday for sure.